I love having 4 games on at once. These FIBA sessions are great. Here were Sunday’s highlights.
Game of the tournament so far: Germany defeats Serbia 82-81, 2 OT
A day after Serbia crushed Angola by 50, Serbia trailed Germany at several points in this game. Down the stretch in regulation, Germany was nursing a 3 point lead and appeared to get a key steal that would seal the game. But the German player’s toe was on the out-of-bounds line and Serbia got the ball back. Then with time running down Alex Rasic of Serbia made a three pointer to tie the game.
Next Germany missed two chances at buzzer beating game winners. At the end of regulation Germany had a good look at a three but missed, and at the end of the first overtime period Germany drove for a game winning lay-up, but the ball was batted out of bounds as time expired.
That sent the game to the second OT where guard Demond Greene caught fire and Jan Jagla hit a ridiculous turnaround three pointer while falling out of bounds. Jagla’s prayer shot turned out to be the difference maker and may be the highlight of the tournament so far.
Serbia continued to use pressure defense down the stretch and cut the lead to one in the final seconds. But Serbia missed a lay-up as time expired and Germany held on for the victory.
Lithuania defeated Canada 70-68
Interesting strategy at the end of the game when Canada trailed by two late, but Lithuania had the ball. There was a seven second differential between the game clock and shot-clock and Canada elected not to foul. Lithuania used the full shot clock and missed the shot, but after the rebound and pass ahead, all Canada’s Jermaine Anderson could do was take an off-balance three as time expired.
You may not remember, but Anderson was a key player for Fordham from 2002-2006. Why are players like Jermain Anderson and Demond Greene taking the key shots? Well, the US team is not the only team missing the A-list NBA stars. Steve Nash last played for Canada in 2004, and he has said he is done with international competition. Dirk Nowitzki plans to play for Germany again, but just not this year.
Greece defeated Puerto Rico 83-80
Greece may be the favorite in Group C, but after getting crushed by the US in an exhibition, after almost losing to China yesterday, and after almost losing to Puerto Rico today, they do not look like a team that will challenge for the FIBA title this year. But the story of this game was Puerto Rico falling apart in the fourth quarter for the second game in a row. The Puerto Rico bench looked completely exasperated after a number of missed shots down the stretch. They’ll need to pull themselves together quickly because at 0-2 in a group with 5 viable teams that could advance to the knockout round, Puerto Rico needs to win its next games.
Argentina defeats Australia 74-72.
Group A favorite Argentina trailed by double digits in the 3rd quarter but came roaring back to take the lead late in the game. Then after Australia’s Patrick Mills hit a three pointer to tie the game at 69, Argentina’s Pablo Prigioni hit a three pointer to break that tie. And after an exchange of free throws and a crazy reverse put back by Australia’s Joe Ingles, Argentina seemed to have the game in hand.
Argentina had the ball with a two point lead and just over 3 seconds left. But Argentina’s Hernan Jasen threw the inbounds pass away which gave Australia one last chance at glory. Australia’s Adam Gibson had a look at a three pointer, but it was off the mark as Argentina held on for victory.
Really, these games have been much better than I ever expected.